In DepthBiomedicine

Cancer therapy returns to original target: HIV

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Science  09 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6453, pp. 530
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6453.530

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Summary

Some HIV-infected people called "elite controllers" have unusually powerful immune systems that can suppress the virus without the need for drugs. Now, a research team has used an engineering approach that has had success in cancer to try to mimic what elite controllers naturally do. The strategy boosts the ability of killer T cells to recognize and destroy HIV-infected cells. Basically, researchers add genes for what are called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to the T cells, which then can ramp up their HIV attack. The group, which published their results in Science Translational Medicine this week, shows that their CAR T cells work well in test studies and in experiments with a mouse model of HIV. They hope to enter the clinic with their anti-HIV CAR T cells next year. In a novel twist, CAR T cells first were tested against HIV in the late 1990s and failed, but then had dramatic success against some cancers. So the return to HIV means the technology has now come full circle.

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